On a cold afternoon last November the Harvard women's soccer team failed to gain a share of the 1986 Ivy League title because it was unable to put the ball in the net.
The booters wasted no time finding an offense in 1987, though, tallying three times in their season opener at Columbia's Baker Field Friday night en route to a 3-0 shutout of the Lions.
"It was important because 3-0 is a sound victory," sophomore midfielder Jen Gifford said. "We proved we have a strong offense capable of creating opportunities and capitalizing on them."
The victory was the first for Harvard Coach Tim Wheaton, who replaced Bob Scalise in the off-season. Wheaton, who served as an assistant coach under Scalise for two years, is hoping that the team will improve on last season's 8-3-3 record.
"He's done a great job," senior goalkeeper Tracee Whitley said of Wheaton, "and it came out in our composure and style."
Against Columbia, the Crimson's style was so dominating that the Lions managed just two shots at Whitley, a two-time All-America.
"They gave us a lot of room to control the ball, and we controlled it," Gifford said. "The passing was smooth, despite the marsh-like conditions. Everyone played well."
The Crimson opened the scoring against Columbia with a goal in the 24th minute of the first half by Captain Karin Pinezich, assisted by senior midfielder Julie Agar.
Pinezich, also a midfielder, was the Crimson's leading scorer last season with five goals and one assist for 11 points.
The Crimson extended its lead in the 18th minute of the second half when Pinezich crossed the ball to junior forward Cathy Dawson, who scooted the ball past Lion goaltender Laura Nisonson.
The freshmen got into the scoring act as well, as Christin Biggs made a quick pass to fellow yardling Heather Jackson who shot past the sprawling Columbia goaltender in a last minute flurry in the Columbia end.
THE NOTEBOOK: The Crimson outshot the Lions, 31-2, including a whopping 18-0 margin in the first half...The booters will travel to Durham, N.H., Wednesday to take on UNH, and will return home to face Holy Cross Saturday at Ohiri Field.